Intelligence agency GCHQ has unveiled plans to create hundreds of new jobs with the opening of a new base in Manchester.

GCHQ works alongside MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to keep Britain safe.

It said the new secure site, due to open in 2019, will be at the heart of the nation's security, using cutting-edge technology to identify and disrupt threats to the UK. 

GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming described Manchester as a city "full of innovation and talent".

"It is also a city known for its tolerance and inclusivity, which last year was tragically attacked by someone who had neither," he said, referring to the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

"In that difficult time, we at GCHQ drew strength from the togetherness and resilience shown by all of Manchester’s communities. That’s how you tackle terrorism."

He added: "I'm delighted we’re opening a new site in the City of Manchester. It will create hundreds of high calibre jobs for people who will have a vital role in keeping this country safe.

"Our new facility will open up a huge new pool of highly talented, tech savvy recruits vital to our future success."

The Manchester site will extend GCHQ’s network of sites in the UK, which currently sees a headquarters in Cheltenham, and offices in Bude in Cornwall, and Scarborough.

Last year, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, opened its new headquarters near Victoria in London.

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "This announcement will create hundreds of jobs and represents a huge vote of confidence in the talent pool of potential employees in and around Manchester. GCHQ perform a vital role helping to keep the country safe and we look forward to welcoming them to the city in 2019."